Richard Sherman joins Amazon’s ‘Thursday Night Football’ studio team

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As a player, Richard Sherman could walk the walk for the most part, and he could certainly talk the talk. It remains to be seen if the cornerback has walked away from the field, but he is set to put his gift of gab to good use.

Amazon announced Tuesday that the 34-year-old had agreed to become the latest member of its “Thursday Night Football” studio team. He will join Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez in providing analysis for the online platform’s pregame, halftime and postgame shows.

“I’m beyond excited to start this journey with Prime Video and be part of this incredible crew they are assembling,” Sherman said in a statement. “It’s going to be the start of something truly special.”

A five-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time all-pro honoree, Sherman was a fifth-round pick out of Stanford in 2011 who defied the odds by quickly emerging as a key cog in the Seattle Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom” secondary. After helping the team win a Super Bowl and go to another over seven years in Seattle, Sherman revived his career with the San Francisco 49ers before spending the 2021 season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

As for a possible return to the NFL, Sherman said Tuesday on NFL Network that he was “still leaving that door open as long as I can.”

“I’m obviously going to keep training and staying in shape, but you’ve got to take the opportunities when they’re there,” he said, “and this is an amazing opportunity with Amazon, so I couldn’t pass it up. But I’m going to leave that door open. If somebody wants to call in late December and needs some help, I’m happy to help.”

In the meantime, Sherman will add more star power to an on-air crew already studded with big names. Providing play-by-play during the games, to be exclusively streamed on Amazon Prime Video, will be Al Michaels. The 77-year-old sports broadcasting legend is coming over from NBC, with which he spent 16 seasons as the voice of “Sunday Night Football” and called 11 Super Bowls. Joining Michaels in the booth will be Kirk Herbstreit, an analyst associated with college football from his quarter-century with ESPN; he will remain with that network while also lending his talents to Amazon. (The founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, owns The Washington Post.)

The presence of Herbstreit and, in particular, Michaels could lend some heft to the Thursday night games, which have long been viewed by many fans as marked by underwhelming matchups and uninspired play. The latter issue can be explained in part by the fact that teams have relatively little time to rest and prepare for them, a predicament memorably criticized in 2016 by none other than Sherman.

“It’s just an absolute poopfest,” the outspoken cornerback said then to reporters when his Seahawks had one such short turnaround. “It’s terrible. We played [Sunday], got home about 1 o’clock in the morning, something like that, on Monday and then you’ve got to play again [on Thursday].

“Congratulations, NFL, you did it again. But they have been doing it all season, so I guess we are the last ones to get the middle finger.”

Sherman, who served as the Seahawks’ player representative with the NFL Players Association that year, added at the time that the league was “hypocritical” for paying lip service to issues of player safety while putting “players in tremendous danger” by forcing them to play on Thursdays.

On Tuesday, Sherman acknowledged those misgivings while looking forward to his new role.

“Thursday nights have always been exciting,” he said (via NFL.com). “Obviously, I haven’t always been a fan of them, [but] I’m excited to call from this side.”

“I’ve got something in the tank,” Sherman added. “But right now I’m really excited and focused on this Amazon opportunity. It’s the first time you get to talk the game, get to feel the atmosphere. … I think the more informed and educated the fans are, the better the experience is.”

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